Glen Burnie, Md. (June 25, 2019) – With 15 months until the October 1, 2020, deadline for federal REAL ID compliance, more than half of Maryland’s five million licensed drivers and ID card holders have provided the required REAL ID documents. Through education, outreach and initiatives such as increased staff and expanded hours and appointments, the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) continues to help customers navigate the REAL ID process.
“Ensuring our customers have access to information, staff and resources remains a top priority,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer. “We continue to adjust and enhance our service and operations to meet customer needs as we work to meet the federal deadline.”
REAL ID was passed by Congress after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. As of October 1, 2020, all Marylanders must have documents on file and be REAL ID compliant to use a state-issued driver’s license or identification card to board an airplane or enter a federal facility. The documents required for REAL ID include: a birth certificate or passport, proof of social security and two documents proving Maryland residence.
In addition to the overall REAL ID process, in December MDOT MVA began sending notices to more than 80,000 customers who have the new driver’s license or identification card with the REAL ID star but still needed to bring in documents to be fully compliant. Those customers were asked to do so within six months, and as of this week more than 67 percent have complied. The remaining 33 percent have until July 3 to bring in required documents or risk having their license or ID recalled. MDOT MVA is making phone calls to remind these customers of the July deadline. Those in this category won’t be charged when they bring in the documents, since they already paid to get their new license.
MDOT MVA is continuing efforts to inform the public about the federal REAL ID process through initiatives that include:
Enhanced Access to Information. MDOT MVA’s REAL ID Lookup Tool provides 24/7 access to check REAL ID status by entering a driver’s license or ID card number on the secure website. More than a million customers have used the Lookup Tool in the past three months. In addition, an Online Document Guide provides a checklist of documents and allows customers to schedule an appointment at any MDOT MVA branch. Those with appointments are guaranteed to be seen within 15 minutes. And the REAL ID toolkit provides videos and downloadable information.
Extended Hours, New Locations & Appointments. Beginning in January, MDOT MVA extended branch hours statewide to 6:30 p.m. Thursdays and began opening at 8 a.m. Saturdays, both moves aimed at providing convenience for REAL ID transactions during non-traditional business hours. Over the past six months, MDOT MVA has also increased the amount of REAL ID appointments. Statewide, there currently are more than 4,100 appointments available daily. In addition, MDOT MVA has opened “annex” locations in Parkville and Columbia to help accommodate the high volume of REAL ID transactions and has brought 120 temporary employees on board to address customer needs for all MDOT MVA services.
Outreach & Education. Since April, REAL ID ambassadors have visited 35 fairs, festivals, public meetings and other events across Maryland and have educated thousands of citizens about REAL ID. More than 105 additional visits are scheduled through fall 2019. MDOT MVA’s REAL ID information page provides a listing of events where ambassadors will be on hand, and the page includes a way for people to request that ambassadors attend an upcoming event.
Premier Customer Service & Communication. Providing premier customer service is the top priority for MDOT MVA, and over the past six months staff has maintained a 98 percent customer satisfaction rating for professionalism, friendliness and helpfulness during customer transactions. MDOT MVA’s Customer Service Center fields an average of 1,400 customer calls weekly on REAL ID. Customers also receive education and support through MDOT MVA’s social media accounts.
MDOT MVA maintains frequent communication with REAL ID customers. Those needing to present documents receive multiple notifications over a six-month period before their REAL ID enrollment date. And prior to scheduled appointments, REAL ID ambassadors contact customers with reminders and information about documents to make their appointment efficient and simple.
“I am proud of the focus and commitment of our leadership and staff to creatively and effectively carry out the federal requirements for REAL ID and I appreciate the response we have seen from Maryland residents,” said Administrator Nizer. “Our work isn’t over, but the people, processes and partnerships we have put into place will go a long way in helping us complete the requirements of federal REAL ID here in Maryland.”
Driver’s license and identification card holders can access the Online Lookup Tool, Online Document Guide, and view the REAL ID toolkit and outreach calendar.